Drowning in paper! Or searching for an effective file structure


My study area is strewn with papers and books, notes and hand outs.  You can’t really see the floor right now.  It’s all too much!  For a while now I’ve been thinking about having some form of structure to my filing so I actually know where everything is.  This should be fairly obvious but once again I find myself wondering how I coped when I was a student first time round.

At the last residential workshop I booked a session with the learning support dudes but I wasn’t really sure what they could do.  I don’t know if there are any techniques around filing and cross referencing but I’m guessing having a few alphabetised cards with some scribblings on isn’t much help.  The learning support session was actually really useful coaching.  They’re not experts in dyslexia but getting a chance to talk all this through was very helpful.

Over the last few months I’ve been getting used to some mind-mapping software.  I’ve never really used it as a technique before but the software makes it easy and so my entire course is mapped out using it.  I decided that adding a file structure would really help.  So now I have a place where I record what books, documents, websites etc are useful for different topics.  I tend to keep it open when I’m studying so that I can update it as I’m going along.  I then add notes detailing where each book etc can be found physically… all of which means I should tidy my floor.

Below is the rough first draft without any of the actual source material in it.  In a few days it’s going to be too massive to show in a blog post so here it is in simplified form in case anyone finds it useful.  As always it’s about finding a style that suits you as a learner.  You could just as easily divide things up into types of source material or location.  I think this works for me so I’m going for it!

Next time I need to write something on neoliberalism, for example, I should be able to focus on that branch of the mind map and see what books, articles etc are useful and go straight to them.

File Structure

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